Spanish rural life

A little further inland from La Marina there are lots of small towns and villages that have been mainly  untouched by the development that is common along the coast. There are still inland urbanizacions but there are also lots of farms and little fincas or smallholdings. The area is very rural and on my cycle rides I can often comes across people moving their sheep or a man with a donkey and cart.

One of the great things about this is that the markets in the area are packed full of fruit and veg sold very cheaply and all very fresh, I love going to market and plan to do most of my shopping there when I move full-time.

Mum has recently discovered a beautiful little museum in the countryside, it is next to a local school near a small village called Matola and is absolutely gorgeous. The school help look after the museum which is an absolutely brilliant idea. It is called Museo Escolar de Pusol  and was set up in 1969.

They have lots of displays of rural life and craft including pressing olives to make oil, making wine, weaving baskets and espadrille shoes and also displays of rooms as they would have been in the 1940s and 50s with my favourite museum things, lovely vintage artifacts and textiles!

Museo Escolar 1

Museo Escolar 2

Look at the vintage shelf edgings with lace in this glass cabinet.

Museo Escolar 3

The room also had a lace making pillow and a knitting bag.

Museo Escolar 4

Museo Escolar 5

I was interested to see a log cabin quilt on the bed, from what I can tell there is not a current quilting scene in Spain as there is in England and the USA, there are a couple of shops in the area that sell fabric but we have only found one quilting shop in a 100 km radius so it seems it did not become popular again as it did here.

The washstand and mirror is beautiful as well and there is a little fretwork shelf next to it with a towel and other toiletries.

There were lots of displays of tools and equipment including a cart workshop and this wooden cart and embroidered rug.

Museo Escolar 10

Museo Escolar 11

I also loved the recreation of a street in the local village with lots of shops as they would have looked in the 1950s and 60s, some of the toys and artifacts I remembered from my childhood.

Museo Escolar 12

I really liked the beautiful tins on display in the grocers.It was interesting to see the different sorts of advertising motifs on tins of biscuits and tortillas, bullfighters and lots of religious images as well as packaging I was familiar with.

Museo Escolar 13

There was haberdashery as well, buttons galore and some vintage punto de cruz, cross stitch, booklets.

Museo Escolar 14

Museo Escolar 15

Museo Escolar 16

The area is famous for its palm trees and one of the displays was of decorated hats.

Museo Escolar 17

Elche, the nearest large town, is famous for its palm weaving – there is lots more information and pictures of this amazing craft here at this blog post. Below is an image from Google of some of the palm weavings in the Palm Sunday parade.

Elche Palm weaving

I love the fact that all of this heritage has been preserved for the village and the children. I don’t think they get many visitors but do go if you are ever in the area, 3 euros very well spent and such a beautiful collection.

I have had a very busy week at work so far and am too tired to stitch anything tonight so I think that I will catch up on a few blogs and have an early night. We have had snow disruption again which meant getting home late last night and getting up very early this morning as the buses were not running at all yesterday evening so I needed to ensure I could get to work this morning. More snow is forecast for this evening and early mornings so fingers crossed I can get in ok tomorrow!

Will catch up with you all at the weekend, take care and have a nice rest of the week, thanks for visiting.

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Secret gardens in Spain

I remember reading the book The Secret Garden when I was younger and loved the idea of an undiscovered garden. I have discovered some secret gardens in Spain on my walks and have taken some pictures this time for you.

The older properties in Spain were built in square blocks with the space in the middle of the blocks left undeveloped, known as verdes which means greens in Spanish.

In some places these verdes are also on the outside of the properties in between blocks of houses but in others they are in the middle accessible by footpaths between the houses but not obvious from the road unless you go exploring like me!

Left undeveloped they are just scrub and self seeding trees but quite often people choose to plant areas of these verdes outside their own gardens and create beautiful areas with stones to make beds and succulents and small trees. Often they use bits of pottery, broken flower pots or left over bricks and stones to make things like the bench in the first photo as well.

Spain - gardens 2

Spain - gardens 6

One of my favourites is just up the road from me, there is a large area of secret garden behind one house and smaller areas behind some of the others. The first house in the picture above has a large terrace that overlooks the garden which stretches for quite a way into the verde, the other house below it is just outside their garden wall.

Spain - gardens 3

 

I love the fact that people do this, in most cases it isn’t really seen either by them or other people but it is lovely to come across these unexpected areas of planting. In this picture below you can see the contrast between the planted area and the untouched bit in the foreground of the picture.

Spain - gardens 5

The plants in La Marina are so different to what we have here in Yorkshire, the area is so dry, it hardly ever rains and so most of the vegetation is palms and cacti with colour mainly coming from bougainvillea which have the most beautiful papery flowers and seem to survive in no water at all.

Spain - gardens 1

Spain - gardens 7

These are some pictures that I took while coming home one day, there was the bluest sky and I love the contrast between that and the green of the plants and the pink of this perfect little branch of blooms.

Spain - gardens 8

Spain - gardens 9

There is such beauty all around us and it is good to stop and look at it and really appreciate it.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Happy times!

Although I have really enjoyed being in Spain I had a lovely afternoon yesterday as was back in my beloved craft room.Even though I have a huge workload this term and will have to work most weekends as well as long as I can have a couple of hours a day at the weekend in my respite care room I will be very happy.

I had said to the family not to buy me gifts for Christmas this year but to give money instead for the festival ticket that I am going to next August but my lovely Mum had already bought me this gorgeous bag of vintage lace and crochet from Spain. Look at all of that loveliness!

Crochet bag 1

I particularly like these and thought they would be ideal for using on pouches and bags so yesterday I got creative.

My sister in law Amanda also bought me these gorgeous little charms, I thought they would go really well on bags as well and remembered that I have some similar brass ones.

Sewing charms 1

Sewing charms 2

So this was the result of yesterday’s work, I have used recycled denim from some old jeans and the flowered material will be at the bottom of the bag so most of it will be hidden by the boxing out.

Stitching stuff bag WIP 1

I have lots of old buttons, my Aunt Maureen let me raid her button box when I was with her last year and I love the shiny pearly look of these.

I am just waiting on a delivery of some more flowery lace zips from Buddly Crafts and then I can finish this one next weekend hopefully. This will go towards my stash for either a Yarndale stall later in the year or other craft fairs/ gifts.

I am planning more creativity this afternoon after the tea has been prepared and put in the slow cooker, I love being able to sort everything out at lunchtime rather than have to stop and cook later on so use my slow cooker most winter weekends.

Have a good creative day yourselves and thanks for visiting.

Spanish design – old and new

I love architecture and spend lots of time taking pictures of beautiful buildings wherever I travel to. One of my favourite things when I am in Spain in La Marina is to wander round looking at all the different houses and gardens and admiring all the alterations that people have made to them.

The urbanizacion is about 30 years old now and the original properties were mainly bought by retired people or as holiday homes so that, combined with the lack of planning regulations in the early years of the development, has led to some wonderful, and some truly bizarre adaptations, of the original house builds.

This beautiful house backs on to an area where the owners have built a private pool with other neighbours.

Spain - houses 1

It is amazing to think that this would have started life looking something like the house below that I photographed a few years ago and has been re-modelled into this beautiful place, I love the fairy tale castle turret.

Spain original Lola

Whatever your choice of property most people like to have a view and since La Marina is on a hill there are lots of choices for sea views or those of the mountains. This first picture was taken on my walk and the other two are of the views of the mountains from my Mum’s house, one of the main reasons she bought it as they have the most amazing sunsets over them every evening.

Spain - houses 11

Spain - houses 2 Mum's view

Spain - houses 3 Mum's view 2

There are so many different varieties of house design to choose from and some gorgeous architectural features like balconies, turrets and sun terraces.

There are lots of new builds now and as the area has become more established there are lots of Spanish people who live there full – time but it still has a real mix of nationalities as there are German, Dutch, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian and Hungarian who live there both full and part-time. On my latest visit I met a lovely Danish couple who are retired and travel down in their caravan through Europe every September to spend until May in the sun, then go back for spring and summer at home.

Some of these new builds are very different to the traditional Spanish style of housing and over the last couple of years more and more of these very modern types of houses have been built. I photographed these just down the road from where I live and there are lots of different styles of these houses being constructed.

They are proving very popular with buyers, many have been bought by Scandinavian owners. You can tell this from the name plates outside as they are built to order which avoids the problem as in other areas where developments have been started and then left half finished due to a slump in the property market and the developers going bust.

One of the key things about them is the privacy, all have their own pool and high gates surrounding them, unlike the older properties with wrought iron gates they are very much enclosed.

Spain - houses 21 - new builds 6

The other very different thing is the large expanse of glass in their design, traditional Spanish architecture is designed to keep the heat out so these huge windows make the properties really stand out. If I lived in one my main concern would be keeping them clean, the area is very dusty and my small windows are permanently dirty. They are also going to need repainting quite often to keep them so white, there is a good reason most of the houses in the area are painted yellow!

Some people don’t like the newer properties, or don’t like the fact that they are being built very close to the older ones but I really like the mix of styles. Spain has a reputation for modern architecture and I am sure that what Gaudi did in Barcelona probably horrified some of the locals when he first built his apartment blocks.

I think that we should value both the old and the new, the Alhambra in Granada is very beautiful but I also love the science and technology area in Valencia as well. The picture below is from Google but the one of Valencia is mine taken a few years ago on a very hot visit when I had a sneaky dip of my feet in the water!

alhambra-exterior-xlarge

Valencia

My house is in one of the older areas and is a very little house that has not been  modified much at all , it sits between two neighbours that have been extended to be two storey so looks very tiny in comparison but it is just perfect for me.I love the fact that it is so compact, very little cleaning to do and I have a lovely terrace to sit on.

When I bought it the house had most of the original furniture that it had first been sold with 30 years ago so I am gradually replacing things and adding personal touches. My latest buys are the cute little lizards for the front wall, some curtains and thanks to my very generous Mum and Aunt Maureen I now have a new coffee table and an indoor dining table.

House - lizards

One of the best things about it is the view, the houses opposite it are lovely with gorgeous gardens and the sun sets each evening over them with the most wonderful shades of pink and gold over the sea.

Spain - houses 4

Spain - houses 30 my house 7

The view is great even from inside, I love sitting on my sofa reading or stitching and looking at this view.

Spain - houses 29 my house 6

I am very lucky to be able to live there, albeit part-time at the moment, and to be able to wander round in such beautiful weather, all of these house pictures were taken on the 6th January, look at those beautiful blue skies!

I hope that you have enjoyed looking at all the pictures, I am going to share some more of the lovely gardens in Spain a bit later then update you on the latest stitching finishes. As I mentioned yesterday I am itching to get creative with but first I have some marking to do. It may be the weekend but I have just been on leave for 2 weeks so I am going to have do a little bit of work before play this weekend.

Take care, see you all soon and thanks for visiting.

Happy New Year and the giveaway winner

Happy 2018 to you all, I hope that you had a lovely New Year, I was enjoying myself far too much in sunny Spain and arrived back yesterday full of good intentions to do lots of lovely things in 2018.

I have some great photos for you from Spain and some new projects to work on inspired by one of my Christmas gifts but first I need to tell you who won the giveaway for my ten year blogaversary.

Thank you all so much for the likes and the lovely comments you made on all the posts. The winner, as picked by the random number generator, is Daisy Debs so please could you e-mail me at alisonmryan@yahoo.co.uk and let me know what you would like as your giveaway gift. It is totally up to you if it is a pouch, stitching basket, knitting accessory, pincushion and needlebook etc, just let me know what sort of thing you would like.

I will leave you with a picture of how I spent part of New Year’s Day, on the beach having a picnic as is now traditional with us, a shared bottle of fizz, some lovely food and the happiness of being with family and feeling very lucky to be able to be there with them in such a beautiful setting.

Spain - Beach New Year

Will return soon with more pictures for you, thanks so much for visiting as always.

Possibly the best National Trust tearoom ever !

I hope that you all had a lovely Christmas, we did and are now having a few quiet, and snowy, days before departing for Spain.

We made our now traditional visit to Clumber Park on Boxing Day and Ellie had booked us in to the very lovely tea room that is located in the old Head Gardener’s House.

I found this wonderful picture of part of the lake that we walked around from the National Trust website, it has been taken from a crane next to the chapel that Ellie is in charge of.

Clumber from air

We usually stop off for tea and cake at every Trust property and always rate the tea rooms for theme, decor and availability of gluten free cake and this one scored very highly indeed.

It has been restored and is absolutely gorgeous inside. This exterior picture is from the National Trust website as I forgot to take one but all others are mine. We especially loved the very glamorous Victorian themed toilets.

Clumber - Head Gardener's House

They also had exceptional good gluten free chocolate brownie, no pictures of that as it was eaten too quickly!

This gorgeous silk embroidery was hanging in the upstairs hallway.

Clumber embroidery 1

Clumber embroidery 2

Before the tea we had a lovely walk round the park, again there was a beautiful winter sun like last year so I was able to take some arty shots.

This beautiful old stone bench by the lake is part of the collection that Ellen looks after, I love the long shadows in the photos.

On Christmas Eve we visited Nottingham for the Christmas market and had a quick wander round, they have beautifully decorated stalls with lots of chocolate, gingerbread and German inspired food.

There are some beautiful buildings in the city centre as well.

It was lovely to meet Ava, my great niece,  as well, she is such a happy, smiling baby and she really loved her little knitted mouse, she fell asleep holding it which was so cute.Here is a picture of my lovely children at the family lunch we had. Jake looks so grown up with his beard.

Xmas Ellie and Jake

Hope you all have a lovely New Year, don’t forget to like this post for a chance to enter the giveaway. Thanks very much for visiting and see you all again in 2018.

 

 

Happy Christmas

Just popped in before we set of for Ellie’s to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I am just about finished on the ornament stitching and have been making chutney for Christmas presents so am feeling very festive!

I will be back home next week and fingers crossed the weather will be nice and Mum and I can go on a few walks, watch movies and craft. She is planning to learn how to make Suffolk Puffs next week so we may have some finished products by the time we leave for Spain.

xmas-door-wreath1

Thanks to you all for visiting, commenting and being supportive of my little blog, it is much appreciated and don’t forget to like a post to enter my blogaversary giveaway which I will sort out on my return from Spain.